Notes: Geren ponders letting A's run
Manager has history of agressive baserunning in Minors
PHOENIX -- The A's who played for Bob Geren when Geren managed the club's Triple-A team in Sacramento say he was aggressive in the running game. Mark Ellis, for instance, stole 21 bases for Geren's 2001 River Cats.On Monday at Papago Park, where his team managed to get in all of its work despite intermittent rain, Geren wasn't ready to say he plans to turn the Swingin' A's into the Runnin' A's. But he seemed open to the idea, noting that Ellis, catcher Jason Kendall and outfielders Milton Bradley and Shannon Stewart all have had some stolen-base success in the past. Kendall led the 2006 team in stolen bases with 11, Bradley was the only other player in double digits, and the team swiped a total of 61 bags on the year. "The truth is, you have to manage the team you have," Geren said. "I don't want to make a public statement, 'We're going to run more.' You'd lose the element of surprise. ... [But] I was pretty aggressive in the Minors, and we had a pretty high [success] percentage." Geren's predecessor, Ken Macha, gave the "green light" -- the freedom to steal whenever they saw fit -- to several players, including Ellis, Bradley, Kendall, Mark Kotsay and Jay Payton. And while Geren's teams figure to run more, particularly if Stewart's troublesome foot isn't an issue, he isn't a big fan of leaving the stay-or-go decisions entirely up to his players. "I've never given the blanket green light for the whole season to anybody," Geren said. "I'll give guys the green light at times, but never 100 percent. I'm the manager, and I think I should decide when someone goes or doesn't go." Ellis over snub: Ellis was among a group of position players reporting to camp early on Monday, and if he's bitter about not winning the 2006 American League Gold Glove at second base despite setting an all-time record for single-season fielding percentage (.997), he's hiding it very well. The honor, voted on by the league's managers and coaches, went to Mark Grudzielanek, who posted a .994 fielding percentage for the Royals. Ellis admitted to being a little surprised that he didn't win his first Gold Glove, and after the announcement was made, Macha, who frequently stumped for Ellis to win it, suggested that offensive numbers might have been a factor in the vote. Grudzielanek batted .297 last year, Ellis .249. "I guess I need to hit better," Ellis said with a smile.
Crowded house: Bradley and shortstop Bobby Crosby also checked in at Papago on Monday for the first time since camp opened, and 11 position players took some informal batting practice on a lower-level field during the pitchers' workout."It's a nice sign to have everyone so eager to go," Geren said. Bradley made the biggest splash during the hitting sessions, launching a home run to right field from the right side of the plate that Geren said cleared the wall by "50 to 100 feet." "I was just walking by, and I saw it and, wow," Geren explained. "Pretty impressive shot." Crosby, who missed much of the second half of last season with back trouble and wasn't allowed to swing a bat during the winter, showed up eager to take his first hacks. But after a brief chat with athletic trainer Larry Davis, Crosby said he'd been told to wait one more day. "Tomorrow," he said. "I hope." Dribblers: Lefty Dan Meyer, who Geren had said on Saturday was the only pitcher in camp who would be limited early on, threw in the bullpen for the first time since camp opened and said he felt "great" afterward. "That's a good sign for us," Geren said of Meyer, who underwent surgery last July to remove a bone chip from his throwing shoulder. ... The A's are the only team in the big leagues that wears white spikes, and veteran infielder Lou Merloni hasn't quite warmed up to them. "I can't wait to get 'em dirty," he said. Outfielder Nick Swisher, whose locker is near Merloni's said, "Don't worry, bro. They'll grow on you fast. You'll love 'em in a week." ... At least Merloni signed with the team in time to get white spikes. Lefty Lenny DiNardo was claimed off waivers right before camp opened and had to work out Sunday with black spikes.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.